WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out of New York's 23rd District special election Saturday, citing a slip in the polls as a factor contributing to her decision.
"In recent days, polls have indicated that my chances of winning this election are not as strong as we would like them to be," Scozzafava said in a statement released by her campaign.
"The reality that I've come to accept is that in today's political arena, you must be able to back up your message with money, and as I've been outspent on both sides, I've been unable to effectively address many of the charges that have been made about my record."
Scozzafava won the nomination in a vote taken by the 11 GOP county chairman in the district, rather than through a traditional primary election. The local Republican leaders picked the state assemblywoman, because they felt her moderate views would appeal to centrist Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats.
Scozzafava, whose name will remain on the November 3 ballot, said "victory is unlikely."
"I hereby release those individuals who have endorsed and supported my campaign to transfer their support as they see fit to do so," she said.
Later: Scozzafava endorses Owens
The seat opened up earlier this year after nine-term Republican Rep. John McHugh stepped down after being confirmed as Secretary of the Army. The largely rural district spans 11 counties in northern New York.
Republicans have represented this area of the state since 1872. McHugh never won less than 60 percent of the vote in his nine election victories, but Barack Obama did edge out John McCain in the district in last year's presidential election.
Scozzafava won the nomination in a vote taken by the 11 GOP county chairman in the district, rather than through a traditional primary election. The local Republican leaders picked the state assemblywoman, who was also backed by the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican National Committee because they felt her moderate views would appeal to centrist Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats.
The move sparked a revolt among many conservatives, who were angry with what they call her liberal views on same-sex marriage and abortion.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Candidates and outside groups in New Jersey's highly contested gubernatorial race have spent nearly $37 million dollars on advertising since May.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine's campaign tops the charts spending nearly $19 million dollars on 10,161 advertisements compared to the nearly $9 million spent by Republican challenger Chris Christie. Independent candidate Chris Daggett has spent $257,447 on advertisements in the state according to analysis by TNSMI-CMAG, CNN's consultant on political advertising.
Corzine, who is estimated to be spending nearly $2 million a week on advertising has been increasingly negative in his ads, a move seen by many as a means to close the gap in the polls.
Evan Tracey, of TNSMI-CMAG, said according to his analysis, Corzine is well on track to spend more than $20 million by Tuesday when voters head to the polls.
The Republican Governors Association is lending a helping hand to Christie, spending just over $5 million on 6,032 advertisements. The Mid Atlantic Leadership Fund, a Washington based firm which usually backs Democratic candidates, has spent nearly $2 million on behalf of Corzine's campaign for re-election.
Late October polls show Corzine and Christie polling neck-and-neck, while Independent candidate Chris Daggett continues to make gains, primarily peeling support away from the Republican challenger.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– In New York's 23rd congressional district, Democratic candidate Bill Owens is capitalizing on Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava's last-minute decision to drop out of the special election as a final opportunity to tie Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman to former President Bush.
In a statement released by his campaign, Owens praised Scozzafava for her dedication as a public servant, but said his focus in the final days remains on showing voters the contrast between himself and Hoffman.
"Voters have a clear choice on Tuesday: they can elect to go back to the George Bush economic agenda, or they can vote to move forward," Owens said. "Doug Hoffman and the Club for Growth's extremist agenda won't do a thing to get our economy moving again. "...I will fight to turn the page on that agenda. I will work to create jobs Upstate to get our economy back on track because that is the type of leadership we need right now in Congress."
Vice President Joe Biden is heading back to New York's 23rd congressional district Monday to campaign for Owens the day before the special election.
Biden, who also campaigned with Owens in September, will appear in Watertown. Earlier this month, President Obama made an appearance at a fundraiser for Owens in New York City.
– CNN's Shirley Zilberstein and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are celebrating their first Halloween at the White House by inviting Washington area students and military families to trick or treat.
According to the White House, up to 2,000 kids between the ages of 6 and 14 years old are expected on the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Saturday evening.
Three 1,000 lb pumpkins shipped in from Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin will be on display, while children are entertained by Star Wars characters, snow globe fairies, bubble makers, and wandering trees.
The National Parks Foundation is providing the sweets for the children, which will include a box of White House M&Ms, dried fruit, and a White House sweet dough butter cookie baked by White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses.
The White House has not announced whether the Obama's plan to wear costumes for the occasion.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who came under fire from some conservatives for endorsing Dede Scozzafava in next week's special Congressional election in New York, is now backing Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.
Gingrich made the announcement via Twitter shortly after the Republican Party nominee Scozzafava announced she was releasing supporters from their commitment to back her.
"Scozzafava dropping out leaves hoffman as only anti-tax anti-pelosi vote in ny 23 Every voter opposed to tax increases support doug hoffman," Gingrich wrote on Twitter. (Tweet shown as it appeared)
Polling showed that Scozzafava was running third in this special election for what had been a traditionally safe Republican seat.
But a split among Republicans over who to support, Scozzafava or the more conservative Hoffman, opened the door for Democratic nominee Bill Owens to capture the seat.
National Republican Party officials, who had also endorsed Scozzafava, are now lining up behind Hoffman.
This new show of GOP unity will make it more difficult for Owens to win the election on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele quickly endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd congressional district Saturday, after Republican Dede Scozzafava's late decision to drop out of the special election.
Steele, who formally endorsed Scozzafava earlier this week, commended her decision to bow out of the race.
"This selfless act of releasing her supporters provides voters with the opportunity to unite around a candidate who shares Republican principles and will serve the interests of his constituents in Congress by standing in opposition to the liberal policies of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi," Steele said in a statement released by the Republican National Committee.
"Effective immediately, the RNC will endorse and support the conservative candidate in the race, Doug Hoffman. Doug's campaign will receive the financial backing of the RNC, and get-out-the-vote efforts to defeat Bill Owens on Tuesday," he said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – In a sign that the national Republican leadership is lining up behind Doug Hoffman, House GOP campaign Chairman Pete Sessions will endorse the Conservative Party candidate in the New York special congressional election, a senior Republican source tells CNN.
"As a matter of fact, only Republicans have offered solutions to lower health-care costs and make it easier to obtain quality, affordable coverage without imposing a massive burden on the American people," Boehner said in the weekly Republican radio and Web address.
"We first released our health-care plan in June, and over the last six months, we have introduced at least eight bills that, taken together, would implement this blueprint," he said.
The GOP released the guiding principles of its health-care agenda in June, but did not release a comprehensive legislative blueprint at that point. Republican congressional leaders have said the party is in the process of crafting a substitute.
On the official GOP Web site, to which Boehner referred, the party pledges to formally offer its own plan during upcoming floor debate on the bill introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The site says the Republican proposal will incorporate all or part of the elements of health-care bills introduced by individual members, and a health-care plan introduced by the Republican Study Committee.